Department of Art
An art professor restructures undergraduate courses to include more short, informal pieces of writing to help students reflect on their own choices as artists and to situate their work within existing traditions.
Past classes in figure drawing (Art 211, Art 311, Art 312, Art 512) have included short writing assignments but without much attention to how to communicate with public audiences about their work or how their work fits into larger traditions.
In past iterations of these classes, students have had to write short papers on the subject of one their four master artists and write in response to critical works about art, such as “Ruben’s Theory and Practice of the Imitation of Art” and “The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form.”
The additional writing students produced reflected greater engagement with the course materials and a greater awareness of their goals and methods as artists. In addition to engaging with the reading by writing a paragraph summarizing each chapter in the textbook, students in 300-600 level classes wrote an additional two-page paper, and all students wrote an artist’s statement for the final project presentation on exam day.
I believe that these additional short assignments have helped the students articulate their concepts better, understand the lessons in a new way, and generally improved their understanding of the subject matter. The seminar was very helpful in understanding the positive possibilities of increased writing assignments, and the different ways to implement them. It was also quite informative to see the many different experiences and viewpoints of other faculty members in the seminar.